Retired University of Portland music professor Roger Doyle, who taught music at the university for nearly 40 years, died Monday, April 30 of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” He was 72.
Mr. Doyle was born Dec. 24, 1939, in Wichita, Kansas. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in music education at the University of Wichita, and a doctorate on conducting and choral music from the University of Colorado. He taught in high schools in Kansas and at St. Mary of the Plain College in Dodge City before arriving at the University of Portland in 1973. He directed Portland’s Choral Arts Ensemble from 1976 until his final concert with that group in 2010. He served as president of Portland’s classical radio station, KQAC (formerly KBPS) – persuading the station’s board to purchase the broadcast license from Portland Public Schools and become an independent station. He founded and directed the Mock’s Crest Productions professional light opera run every summer in the University of Portland’s Mago Hunt Theater.
He was often a guest lecturer for the Oregon Symphony. He lectured and conducted in Japan, Austria, Denmark, and Ireland, twice conducting the National Chamber Choir of Ireland. He conducted the Multnomah Club Balladeers for 35 years, from 1975 to 2010. He was a board member of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra for nearly thirty years. He was president of the Oregon Choral Directors Association. He wrote essays and articles about music and composers for many periodicals. He founded the annual Best in the Northwest Choir Festival, which has brought thousands of high school students to Portland.
He presented concerts in and around Portland, among them a series of sacred music events at St. Mary’s Cathedral. He persuaded Aaron Copland to donate his scores to the University of Portland, he sang with Barry Manilow, studied with Robert Shaw, and taught thousands of students to sing and to savor and appreciate music and musical theater.
He is survived by his wife Kay Reboul Doyle, as well as his stepmother Lucille and stepsister Elizabeth, and his nephews Kevin and Christopher Sanborn. Gifts in memory of Mr. Doyle may be directed to the Roger and Kay Doyle Scholarship Fund at the University of Portland, a scholarship devoted to students of music.